And here we have yet another tale of content creators being awesome to connect with fans. It's a story involving a 7-year-old kid, Zias, who really loves the game Edge (I assume it's unrelated to the trademark troll who tried to sue everyone who used "Edge" in the title of a video game). Zias likes the game so much that, when he's not playing, he's been building his own levels for the game out of legos. Zias' father tweeted the developers of Edge, asking if they might send a promotional item (poster, business card, something) to give to Zias for his birthday. Instead, the developers decided to go much, much further:
I don’t have much marketing material except for some digital flyers. But I thought it would be nice if Zias could make a Lego level for us, which we would rebuild and put back in the actual game. The level will have his name and be put on Steam.
Not sure if this can be arranged, but would that be a nice present?
The company then created a cool invite for Zias to come visit them, and telling him they'd make his lego level into a real game level.
The whole story is yet another example of content creators going above and beyond what's "necessary" to be both awesome and human. The more you look, the more you find great stories like this, and it begins to make you wonder why so many companies simply go in the opposite direction.
And much like one of the most epic trolls of all time -- Righthaven -- Langdell has found himself on the receiving end of a full-blast dressing down via the legal system. Even better, Langdell's last-minute desperation plays produced an embarassment of riches, each one of them yet another embarassment.
To kick off the beatdown, Mrs. Justice Proudman first addressed Langdell's fictional associate:
I am satisfied that EIM and Games Inc are controlled exclusively by Dr Langdell. A "Jack Phillips" has occasionally put his name to witness statements on behalf of EIM in the past but he is not mentioned at all by Dr Langdell in his evidence and I suspect (without making any findings in this respect) that the claimant is right in saying that he does not exist and is an invention of Dr Langdell.
Then there was the whole problem with his "imaginative" logo, which is the other 50% of Langdell's legal wranglings:
The good doctor seemed to take as many nonsensical approaches to defending his use of the EDGE logo as possible, also arguing that because he “copied” it on a letterhead to Future, that this was an “estoppel representation“, which even the judge can’t seem to be bothered to fathom. And then, despite having admitted to copying it, and claiming to have been given permission to use it, he brilliantly asserts that he also invented it in 1991! Future, it seemed, “consciously or unconsciously” copied it two years later when they launched the magazine. This was somewhat scuppered when Future produced the original designer of the logo, and Langdell had nothing useful to say to defend against that.
But wait, there's more! Langdell is apparently still carrying around outdated storage, just to store his outdated logo. The most remarkable thing about this magical disk and its enclosed catalogue is its ability to travel through time, much like the logo itself:
However, Langdell had produced some floppy discs which stored logo, as evidence that it pre-existed the magazine. He claimed that the logo had been published on a “single page catalogue” and a flysheet he used at trade shows, but when asked to show a physical copy said that there was, er, “scarcity of use” pre 1993. But those discs – he’d saved “catalogue” and flysheet onto 5.25″ disc in 1991. He was home free! But wow, it was about to get brilliant.
The disc was too delicate to be shipped to the UK, said Dr Tim. Despite it already having been sent across the Atlantic twice. The court ordered him to send it over. And thus Langdell sent the disc to an expert, Mr Steggles of Disklabs, who verified that the disc was indeed from 1991, and said that in his opinion it was “genuinely created at that time.” Surely Langdell was finally onto a winner? Except, well, Future’s expert, Mr Dearsley of Kroll Computers, pointed something out. The content had been created by Windows 95.
At this point, everyone (possibly even Righthaven) would have given up, but Langdell pressed on, according to Justice Proudman:
He then produced an involved and absurd story about how he had found two disks in a box in 2009, one of which was a mid-90s back up disk (“disk 2″) and the other of which, (disk 1) was used to clone the original. He said he took the two disks to a “repair man” and mixed them up by marking the wrong one. His oral evidence did not tally with his witness statement and his evidence about the boxes in which he allegedly found disk 1 and disk 2 was confused and unpersuasive.
So, unable to sort himself out with his own contradictory statements, Langdell grabbed his shovel and began digging furiously, trying to somehow show evidence that EDGE is actually a viable software business and not just a guy with a printer and some settlement letter templates:
In attempting to provide evidence that EIM and Edge Games were making money in the UK, Langdell (along with providing an incredibly recent invoice for a company called Creative Distribution Ltd. in Croydon, but unable to remember any pertinent details about the order) offered emails to and from one Randall Copland, of his UK licensee Velocity Micro Inc. (for whom I’m only able to find a US website). In these Copland appears to reply saying of the sales figures for Edge and Gamer’s Edge products from 2006 to 2009, "The figure is way over $1m for each year".The trouble was, when Copland was asked about this in court he said that the emails bore little in common with those that were really sent. The undoctored emails reveal a slightly different sales figure for the time period: nothing whatsoever.
With the court finding completely in favor of Future Publishing (home of Edge Magazine), the letters that form the word "edge" are back in the public domain and Langdell is left holding the tattered remains of a "business" that has -- for the most part -- done absolutely nothing over the last 2+ years but send out legal threats. ChaosEdge, which has been following Langdell's every move since his lawsuit against Mobigames in 2009 (over their "infringing" app Edge), has this great rundown of everything Edge Interactive Media hasn't done (with two sad exceptions):
EDGE Games have NEVER published or developed a game on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation, PSP, Xbox 360, Xbox, Wii, Gamecube, N64, Super Nintendo, DS, Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Color, Gameboy, Megadrive (Genesis) or iPhone.
EDGE Games operates from a mail box – The big three hardware manufacturers don’t grant the right for developers or publishers to work on their consoles without a registered office.
EDGE Games was NEVER SEGA of Europe (They converted and published Alien Syndrome in 1988 under licence from SEGA, that doesn’t make them anything more than a 1980′s developer/publisher)
EDGE Game sDO Steal peoples work from places such as Deviantart
Good luck in the future, Mr. Dr. Langdell! The world being what it is, I'm sure there's another trolling entity out there looking for someone with your particular "skill" set. Just try to remember to keep your Windows software un-updated.
We've covered a few different stories about a guy named Tim Langdell who held a trademark on the term "edge" in video games, which he had used many years ago, and still sorta kinda maybe uses as part of his operation, "Edge Games." And yet, he seemed to think that trademark law means he owns the word, as it relates to video games, forever. So he's been threatening iPhone developers and sued EA, claiming the company's Mirrors Edge series violates his trademarks. EA has fought back strongly against the claims, and Brian alerts us to the news that a court has denied Langdell's injunction request and slammed Langdell in the process, suggesting underhanded practices which could result in criminal penalties.
The court has denied Edge Games' motion for injunction, citing that it believes that Langdell made fraudulent statements to the US Patent and Trademark Office and strongly believes that Langdell is "suspect" and has been "trolling" the game industry for licensing opportunities. His actions could possibly warrant "criminal penalties."
When a judge calls you a troll and threatens you with criminal penalties in a lawsuit you initiated... you've got problems. Reading through the actual ruling is incredible, in what it describes about what Langdell has done. I would argue that the above paragraph significantly downplays Langdell's actions, which the court notes, at one point, that the evidence suggests Langdell "willfully committed fraud." You can see the full ruling here:
After discussing the background of the case, it jumps right into the part where it accuses Langdell of faking evidence (the judge even italicizes: "It was faked." in the ruling). The judge was even kind enough to include an image comparing an apparently faked magazine cover that Langdell sent to the USPTO, which the USPTO relied on:
The ruling goes through a series of other situations that appear to be blatant misrepresentations by Langdell in order to secure the trademark in question. For example, there's a comic book cover, which Langdell scanned and used to show the USPTO that he was still using the mark in commerce. Only problem? The comic book was published by another company. Oh, and it was published over a decade earlier, meaning it wasn't a very good example of how Langdell was using it in commerce at all. And, then there were some other similar situations:
For example, Dr. Langdell's declaration asserted that Edge Games
has been selling the video game Mythora (supposedly bearing the "EDGE" mark) since 2004.
Curiously, while the exterior packaging submitted by Dr. Langdell to the USPTO for the Mythora
video game included a website address "www.mythora.com," this website wasn't even registered
by Edge Games until October 2008 -- nearly four years after the game's purported release.... The USPTO relied upon this questionable video-game packaging when it renewed
plaintiff's "EDGE" mark in 2009
The ruling goes on to note many more cases of images sent to the USPTO, where the images appear to be doctored, even mockingly saying after one such "real" and "submitted" comparison:
"Once again playing "spot the differences," the specimen submitted to the USPTO appears to have been doctored in three material ways."
This is a judge who is not happy.
The more you read, the more bizarre it gets. Since it's questionable as to whether or not Langdell had really been using these marks in commerce all along, EA's lawyers tried to see if he's really using them today. So it went and tried to buy some of the games he's claiming to sell... and they got error messages every time.
At this point, one would hope that Langdell realizes it's time to back off. He could, in theory, push for a full trial (this was just a move to get an injunction), but he must realize that his chances of winning this case are about as close to zero as you can imagine -- and the deeper he digs, the more trouble he may find himself in.
The story is yet another example of the dangers of trying to abuse the legal system sometimes. It can certainly come back to bite you.
We've covered Tim Langdell and his ridiculous trademark claims for years. He's the guy who got a trademark on the word "edge" for a video game fifteen or so years ago, and now seems to spend all of his time threatening and/or suing any game or app maker who puts the word "edge" in the title, even though there's no likelihood of confusion, and Langdell's own failure to actually release a game in many years raises questions about how valid the mark is. EA, who had been threatened by Langdell for its Mirror's Edge game asked the USPTO to dump the trademark last year, claiming not only have the marks been abandoned, but that they were obtained via fraudulent means. The PTO is still reviewing that request.
However, Langdell is not sitting still. His lawyers kindly spammed me today with the news that they're suing EA over this trademark. Not surprisingly, they play up Langdell's position, and leave out the abandonment of the trademark, the lack of any likelihood of confusion and other pertinent details along those lines. Trademark law, despite Langdell's apparent belief, does not give a company full control over a word, especially if they're not using it. No one is confusing Mirror's Edge with Langdell's ancient games.
In the past, we've discussed how some guy named Tim Langdell seems to think that because he once had a game that had the word "edge" in the title and got a trademark for it (even though he hasn't released a game in about fifteen years) that he can go after anyone who uses the word edge in a video game title. EA is even working on getting Langdell's trademark dumped. In the meantime, he just keeps going with it, threatening plenty of folks. It appears that some game developers are getting sick of this and have decided to fight back. William Jackson alerts us to the news that game developers are now purposely adding the word "edge" to their game titles in solidarity with those threatened by Langdell. I wonder if that will get the message across?
Earlier this year, we wrote about Tim Langdell and his claim of owning a trademark on the word "edge" when used in any kind of video game. Of course, Langdell last came out with a game himself in 1994, which makes the whole trademark claim pretty iffy. You need to be using your mark in commerce for it to be valid. Instead, Langdell just seems to be trying to stop anyone else from using the word "edge." Thankfully (as a bunch of you sent in), EA has finally decided to stand up and ask the USPTO to dump Langdell's trademarks. Beyond claiming that the marks are abandoned, EA is also claiming that they were obtained through fraudulent means. Either way, it seems that the basic "moron in a hurry" test should knock out most of Langdell's claims. It's too bad how rarely that test is used...
A whole bunch of people have been sending in the story of a guy named Tim Langdell, who claims to own the trademark to the word "edge" when its used in the name of any video game, and has used that to force a popular iPhone game, called EDGE, out of the app store. As the article points out, Langdell's last game was released in 1994, which makes you wonder if the name is still being used in commerce (a requirement for a trademark claim). And, of course, there's the question of confusion. Considering how few people have heard of Langdell's company, was there really any chance that "a moron in a hurry" would confuse a fun block game with Langdell's title's like "Snoopy: The Case of the Missing Blanket." Kotaku points out that Langdell appears to spend a lot more time these days talking to people about how he owns the word "edge" in any video game than producing or selling video games...